Message In A Bottle
LITHUANIA MUSIC INFORMATION CENTER LITHUANIA MICL 087 CD (2015)
A return visitor to these pages, Lithuanian sound artist Gintas K’s work is marked by molecular level interactions that bear virtually no trace of human involvement, instigated and monitored with a rigour that suggests scientific ambitions. Going by the reviews, his indistinctly-sleeved albums would seem to be theme-and-variation affairs recommendable to those probing enthusiasts of the inscrutable who are possessed of above average mental stamina. But for those of us in search of a rope ladder into his signpost-free sound sphere, this diversified portfolio arrives not a moment too soon.
While titles such as ‘POpXEnA 9’ and ‘#72’ bear testament to an ongoing process of self-cataloguing, ironic outliers such as ‘Lovely Banalities’ and ‘Grinny Memories’ stand in sharp relief to the composer’s maniacal pursuit of his certain somethings. They may even prompt listeners to question why this music exists at all or, by extension, why we should regard one set of moving vibrations with greater favour than any other. His ‘orchestrations’ exist not in opposition to our predilections but completely outside the dimension of listening-for-pleasure. Each of these tracks is an internally consistent communication relay system that exists in relation to itself; not to you or me. In this sense, we are liberated from complicity in the familiar, affective process of listener-as-participant.
However, in truth no two listening events are the same. Even as I return to events such as ‘5m’ I am reminded of Rutherford’s experiments firing alpha particles at gold foil and the bemusing scattering that was subsequently detected. Anomalous streaks of what sound like electric organ add unexpected warmth and colour to the picture. Perhaps Autechre might choose to spend their holidays in such conditions, relaxing to the pointillistic patter of raindrops evaporating on a heat shield.
Which is also to say that laboratory conditions are not in effect throughout: ‘Love is Love’ (to give but one example) is a 7-8 minute dirty wash of distorted tape manipulation that might be heard through the wall of a provocative youth who only removes his gaze from the abyss as an act of self-rebellion. It could be Fennesz’s shadow on a midnight creep, but it is more certainly a red herring and a reminder that enjoying this Lithuanian lunatic’s sense of humour might require the invention of a new form of radar.